Written by Alexander Burgemeester
Narcissists are notorious for placing blame on other people and not on themselves. Even when they clearly and definitely did something wrong, they cannot- and will not- accept responsibility. They almost always deflect the blame elsewhere. Narcissists either ignore their contribution to the situation or insist that the other person (spouse, child, co-worker or etc.) made them do it. Narcissists know right from wrong, they just cannot allow something bad to be their fault. It is another manifestation of their supreme self-centeredness as well as a protection for their fragile ego. It is also a primitive method of avoiding external repercussions.
The narcissist will blame you for everything that isn’t right in their life, and blame you for what other people do, and blame you for whatever has happened. They will always blame you-even for their abuse toward you. You “made” him do it. If only you weren’t so difficult…you made her so upset she couldn’t think straight…your talking pushed him over the edge…and so on. The child of a narcissist gets cautioned against “making” his parent abuse him. The narcissistic parent will say,”Don’t make me hit you” or “You have only yourself to blame” as they hit the child with a strap or belt.
The narcissist is excessively critical and demanding of his spouse. If you are the spouse, then you know how he requires total perfection from you. However, even when you meet his demands perfectly, you still don’t measure up. The narcissist frequently explodes at his mate (“narcissistic rage”) for what appears to be no reason at all. The narcissist’s rage erupts frequently and violently like a volcano, and those closest to him are the ones that catch his wrath. The narcissist blames the spouse or a ‘scapegoat child’ for absolutely everything that goes wrong (especially if it is his fault).
Narcissists blame…it is what they do…and the reason every narcissistic mother has a scapegoat child is because you must have someone to put the blame onto. ~“Violet”, Narcissist’s Child, 2012
Why do they have such a strong need to blame others?
Narcissists have a tendency to internalize failure; the narcissist’s emotional response to failure is to feel shame rather than to feel guilt like other people. In order to avoid shame, which the narcissist avoids at any cost, he externalizes blame for all negative events. As he thinks that someone must be guilty, he almost always attributes the blame to others. On rare occasions, such as when his self-esteem is especially high (perhaps through some positive feedback he has engineered), he will accept blame but only then if it can be seen as a magnanimous gesture.
A narcissist may do something egregiously abusive to you, yet when confronted will scream at you that she can’t believe you were so selfish as to upset her over such a trivial thing. She’ll also blame you for your reaction to her selfish and exploitative behavior e.g., she can’t believe you are so petty and so childish as to balk at her giving your favorite dress away to her friend. She thought you would be happy to let her do something nice for someone else.
Narcissists go into rages in which they blame and criticize others. They seem like small children throwing huge tantrums, frightening those around them. The anger of narcissists is not only frightening, it is demeaning. Their criticism evolves from their steadfast conviction that others don’t meet their high standards–or worse, that others aren’t letting them get their own way. “Narcissistic injuries,” or wounds to the ego, are often the impetus for narcissistic rages- which can be manifested as aggressive or passive-aggressive, planned out or impulsive. They feel they are superior to you and that you have displeased them; therefore, they feel you deserve whatever punishment they will dole out.
When you live like this every day-where everything bad is your fault- you learn to live in a state of heightened anxiety (“free floating anxiety) where you are always waiting and expecting the other shoe to drop. You never know when you are going to be blamed for something you had no part in. If you are married to a narcissist and finally decide to leave the toxic situation, the narcissist will blame you for the failed marriage and bad parenting (they have no qualms about blatant lying) in order to “win” in court. Despite the battle that will ensue, the healthiest thing you can do is to avoid or significantly limit the exposure you have to the narcissist.
About Alexander Burgemeester
Alex Graduated in Neuro-Psychology at the University of Amsterdam. He worked a few years in a nursing home where he specialized himself in neurodegenerative disorders (alzheimer, parkinson), Personality Disorders and Emotional disorders (depression). Now he specializes in sharing his knowledge on public websites. View all posts by Alexander Burgemeeste
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